LEWISTON – The Niagara County Industrial Development Agency held a public hearing Wednesday to consider a 15-year property tax break for a 30-unit apartment conversion of the former Fairchild Manor Nursing Home at 765 Fairchild Place, which has been vacant since it closed in 2011.
However, the plan has not been approved by the Village Board.
Village of Lewiston Mayor Terry C. Collesano said the first he had heard of the plan for apartments was when the public hearing was announced by the IDA.
The Village Board approved a plan for condominiums, 18 two-bedroom units and six one-bedroom units in July 2013, not apartments, Collesano said.
According to records it appears that Brooklyn-based Goldin Management, which purchased the vacant nursing home on Fairchild Place and received approvals for condominiums, sold the complex for $375,000 to James Jerge of Orchard Park, who formed 765 Fairchild Place LLC and changed the plans from condos to apartments.
The plan is to convert the 25,000-square-foot, one-story building into 30 apartments to be rented at market rates. The project could cost as much as $4 million according to Robert Savarino, the Amherst developer working on it.
Collesano said the new owner must go through the entire process again to get approvals for apartments from the Planning, Zoning and Village boards before it can move forward.
“We never approved 30 units,” said Collesano. He said the apartment complex calls for 60 parking spaces, 28 of which are situated on the narrow Fairchild Place.
“You shouldn’t have any parking on that street. When Fairchild built that in the ’60s it was known at that time that they would never build parking spaces on Fairchild in respect to that neighborhood,” Collesano said.
The former plan for condominiums had individual driveways and 40 parking spaces on Onondaga Street.
Carol Jacobs, who lives across the street, said the neighbors could accept upscale condos, which are more manageable than apartments.
“It’s a very small street, a very narrow street,” she said. “Crime rates go up if there is subsidized housing. ... We don’t have that in our neighborhood. There are 14 houses on the street looking out for each other. I’m extremely concerned about what will happen to our neighborhood.”
Susan Langdon, director of project development for the Niagara County IDA, said no subsidized housing is planned for the apartments, which are expected to be rented at market rates, but she added that the board does not provide tax abatements for condominiums.
Langdon said the IDA only grants financial assistance and said the project itself has to be approved by the local municipality.
“If it ever came up to our board, I think we would be very discouraged with it,” Collesano said of the parking issues. “I think the density is too much.”
The Niagara County IDA is expected to discuss the plan for abatement for Fairchild Place at its meeting on June 11.